MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contacts: Mary Hardin (818) 354-0344 (JPL)
Doug Peterson (281) 483-5111 (NASA/Johnson Space Center)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOctober 27, 1998
ASTRONAUT CREW NAMED FOR JPL EARTH-MAPPING MISSION
An international cadre of astronauts will support JPL's next
Earth radar-mapping mission when NASA launches Space Shuttle
Endeavour in September 1999.
The Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) evolved from the
Space Radar Laboratory missions that flew on two Space Shuttle
flights in 1994. The effort is a partnership between NASA and
the Department of Defense's National Imagery and Mapping Agency
(NIMA). In addition, the German and Italian space agencies are
contributing an experimental high-resolution imaging radar
A key SRTM technology is radar interferometry, which
compares two radar images taken at slightly different locations
to obtain elevation or surface-change information. SRTM will
take two images at the same time -- one from the radar antennas
in the shuttle's payload bay, the other from the radar antennas
at the end of a 60-meter (200-foot) mast extending from the
shuttle. Combining the two images produces a single 3-D image.
The SRTM 3-D pictures -- called visualizations -- of Earth's
surface that scientists will use for studies of flooding,
erosion, land-slide hazards, earthquakes, ecological zones,
weather forecasts, and climate change. The data's military
applications include mission planning and rehearsal, modeling,
and simulation. Other possible uses include optimizing locations
for cellular phone towers and improving topographic maps for
backpackers, firefighters, and geologists.
The SRTM STS-99 crew is: Commander Kevin Kregel; Pilot Dom
Gorie; and Mission Specialists Janet Kavandi, Ph.D.; Janice Voss,
Ph.D.; Mamoru Mohri, Ph.D.; and Gerhard P. J. Thiele.
Kregel was selected as an astronaut in 1992. He has logged
more than 41 days in space during three missions: as pilot of
STS-70 in 1995 and STS-78 in 1996, and as commander of STS-87
After being selected as an astronaut in 1994, Gorie served
as pilot earlier this year on STS-91, the ninth and final
Shuttle-Mir mission of the U.S.-Russian Phase One Program.
Kavandi was selected as an astronaut in 1994 and flew on
board Discovery earlier this year with Gorie on STS-91.
With STS-99, Voss will be making her fifth space flight.
She has flown previously on STS-57 in 1993, STS-63 in 1995; and
STS-83 and STS-94 in 1997.
Mohri, of the Japanese Space Agency, is a member of the 1996
astronaut class. STS-99 will be his second space flight; he flew
as a Payload Specialist on STS-47, the Spacelab-J mission,
Thiele, of the European Space Agency, is a member of the
1996 astronaut class. This will be his first flight.
For additional information on the STS-99 crew, or any
astronaut, see the NASA Internet biography home page at URL:
For more information about SRTM and JPL's Earth Imaging
Radar Program see:
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.